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Rhythm: Bedtime

Rhythm: Bedtime Nourish Paris

As you may well imagine, bedtime in a home where all four members of the family are of different ages, on different schedules and all basically sleep in the same room can be a little…hectic. I won’t lie, bedtime has been a huge challenge for us lately. Arthur’s at an age where he really should be dropping his midday nap but, as he’s in the education system here in France, will most likely continue napping for another two years. My husband gets home between 2-3am from work and needs to sleep for a full eight to nine hours. Fred is six months old and is our least erratic sleeper right now! Summer adds an extra problem to sleep when you’re a parent. Kids don’t understand why they have to go to bed while it’s still bright and sunny outside so black out blinds and sitting in the dark in the living room for half an hour after they go to bed have become routine. 

But today I’m not going to be writing about any of my boys or their various sleeping issues. I’ll be writing about mine. I am twenty seven years old and I have a stricter bedtime routine than my toddler. 

Why?

  • Self care is my absolute number one priority once the kids are sorted. I have two children who for some reason have decided that they are morning people. Ugh. 
  • A bedtime routine means that I start the next day on the very best foot possible every single day. Everything is prepared, everything is ready for me to just make it the best day possible. 
  • I’m a control freak and it pleases my control soul to have little things I can control to make the most out of my days.
  • I need to take intentional pauses. I can slowly feel myself turning into my mother. Not an entirely bad thing but she does not stop. Ever. 

Rhythm: Bedtime Nourish Paris

Rhythm: Bedtime Nourish Paris

How?

  • A Lack of Distractions: Keeping my evenings past 8pm free of housework, kid stuff, paperwork and other stuff on my to do list really forces me to make the time for self care. Two blogs that help me do this are The Organised Mum Method and Organised Motherhood . They’re two seriously inspirational ladies who make my life a lot easier!
     
  • An evening beauty routine: This miraculous little oil from Aesop and coconut oil are my evening beauty staples (coconut oil used for everything from makeup removal to moisturising!) and once or twice a week I do a full facial with a mask. I use Aesop products but I’ve been lusting after all things Eve Lom for ages.
     
  • Cozy Pyjamas: I am obsessed with all things Monoprix, but especially their pyjamas. The ones I’m wearing are theirs from last season and so soft! I really think that The White Company have gorgeous GORGEOUS Pyjamas and lounge wear too, and TOAST if you have the budget!
     
  • Screen Replacements: This, I am not so great at. Screens are easy, my phone is RIGHT there, Instagram is addictive, Netflix is bottomless, I really NEED to watch all eight seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer this week (but we all do, she’s timeless). I’ve been trying to switch off at least half an hour before bed and read, but I’ve not found a book that’s really gripped me in ages. Any recommendations? 
     
  • The Perfect Candle: For me, there’s nothing more soothing than NEOM Organics’ Tranquility candle. Light it an hour before bed, spritz your pillow with their accompanying pillow spray and that’s the deepest night’s sleep around. I’m actually not using it right now because it works TOO well and I need to be able to rouse myself sufficiently to feed Fred during the night!
     
  • A Calming Drink: France has a staggering amount of Tisanes to throw at this issue. My favourite is the Pukka nighttime tea but in the winter Whittard’s hot chocolate will be seeing me through. This also helps with the Wine O’Clock issue which I’ve written before about here. Drinking alcohol before bed may seem like it’s making you tired but really doesn’t contribute to a good night’s sleep. 
     
  • A Bit Of Help: We can’t do everything on our own. When I’m having trouble sleeping it usually means I’m having trouble turning off my brain and it’s stressing me out. Something that helps is keeping my notebook by the bed to jot down anything that comes into my head, keeping my phone on the other side of the room so I can’t start scrolling and playing a sleep aid meditation over the speakers. My absolute favourite right now is Clementine which I pay for but there are lots of free options like Buddhify on the app store. 

What about you? How are you getting your eight hours a night? 

 

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Pilates: Conscious Movement with Elena Falida

Pilates: Conscious Movement with Elena Falida Nourish Paris

Pilates: Conscious Movement with Elena Falida Nourish Paris

Pilates: Conscious Movement with Elena Falida Nourish Paris

Pilates: Conscious Movement with Elena Falida Nourish Paris

As those of you who know me well know, “fitness” is not my thing. In all my years of searching, I’ve never found any sport that I don’t find, to be frank, boring. I’ve never had that rush of endorphins that fitness fanatics claim keeps them coming back for more. I find exercise in general to be, well, not for me. 

And then I met Elena. Elena is Pilates Movement Paris, her own Pilates personal training company and studio which she runs out of her gorgeous apartment in the sixteenth. I first contacted Elena after my physiotherapist suggested Pilates as a helpful exercise for women after childbirth and, although I was skeptical at the time, I am so glad I did!

Within just a few weeks I am feeling stronger in my body, more aware of my muscles and how I’m using them, more energized and finally, not bored at all! I’ve done a quick interview with Elena so she can talk about why she loves and practices Pilates and earlier this week I got to visit her home studio, Pilates Movement Paris for a class with six month old Fred in tow. A true Parisian, Elena has embraced her tiny apartment and runs her studio out of her gorgeous, minimalist space. It was seriously inspiring to see small living taken to the extent of running a business too!

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to Paris
I was born and raised in Athens, Greece but after having lived in the UK for many years, Brussels and Luxembourg we came to Paris for an unmissable job opportunity my husband got. We will have been here for two years in June.

What about pilates drew you towards it? 
I first started pilates when I was living in Brussels in 2011. Up until then I had tried different types of excercise. In my teens, I swam a lot and played volleyball. At university I went to the gym and later, I started running and attended boxing classes. Thats when i started to consciously realise that moving my body makes me feel my best. 

Pilates was completely different to what I had experienced until then. After attending consistently 3 times a week at a pilates studio in the centre of Brussels, I felt stronger in my body than ever before, I had a lot more energy and my lower back problems completely went away. Now I want to pass on the huge benefits of conscious movement and especially Pilates to others. 

Why is pilates helpful for women and mothers? 
Pilates was designed by a man named Joseph Pilates. Today, the majority of those who practice pilates are women but generally pilates is for men and women, for all types of bodies and all types of ages. 

After pregnancy our bodies change and pilates can help women regain their core strength and flexibility. Most importantly however it helps body and postural awareness. This is hugely beneficial for women who carry their babies, breastfeed, push the pram, etc. and who suffer from lower back issues and/or tight shoulders and neck. Pilates also helps regain pelvic floor strength. Last but not least, the breathing aspect of pilates can help mothers feel more energised.

How can we apply pilates principles in our everyday movements? 
What you learn through pilates you can take away and apply to your posture in everyday life or to any other sports you might be doing. Pilates is particularly good for runners, horse riders, tennis players and Golfers. For example, focusing on engaging inner thighs and glutes, pulling your naval in and up while drawing your shoulders down when you’re going about your life works muscles that would normally not be working and brings focus and mindfulness to your day.

Joseph Pilates named his method contrology. So, pilates differs from other forms of exercise in that its focus is on the quality of movement rather than the quantity of repetitions. 

How often should we practice pilates? 
Through pilates we aim to replace unhealthy movement patters with healthy ones. This requires some consistency so ideally three times a week but if you attend a private class or small group classes with a lot of one-on-one attention by a good certified instructor then twice a week could also suffice  

Where can we find you and your business? 
Pilates Movement Paris is a home based pilates studio in the 16th that specialises in private and small group classes, with or without your baby. 

My website is www.pilatesmovemlentparis.com 

My Facebook and Instagram are under @pilatesmovementparis 

For me, it’s such a great experience to put my body in the hands of someone experienced and qualified. Elena is passionate about giving her students the one on one attention that they deserve in her classes and I’ve found such a difference already in my body, in my confidence and in my energy that I’m so happy to recommend her to all of you lovely Parisian Mamans. Taking the time out of my day two or three times a week to focus completely on myself is so important and has already made a huge impact on my life. I hope you get the chance to do the same!

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Our Tiny Home: Kids

Our Tiny Home: Kids Nourish Paris

It’s a funny thing what we, as adults see now when we look back on our childhoods. I grew up in a lovely, but not massive three bedroom house in the South East of England. All of my childhood memories in that house, where my parents still live, involve my mum and dad working their arses off to decorate, improve, maintain and make that house a beautiful, adapted home for our needs as a family. It never felt small or anything less than perfect to me. Now, when I return as an adult, the house seems huge, the up-keep of it overwhelming and never ending. I have far more comprehension of my parent’s never ending demands to keep it tidy – letting standards go for a little while results in a whole day of playing catch-up. This is, of course, because I choose to live with my two small children and husband in an apartment approximately the size of my parent’s living room.

I’ve spoken before about why we choose to do this and, yes, one of the biggest reasons is necessity. We need to live in central Paris for work and central Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world right now. We cannot afford anything bigger. However, SINCE we’ve been doing this, some reasons to continue have become clear – not least to do with our children. When I was pregnant we started to think about what children really need to thrive and, although it’s still very much a work in process, we came to some different conclusions.

Our Tiny Home: Kids Nourish Paris

Bedrooms

I’ve written before about how we don’t have a bedroom. We sleep in our living room and have given the bedroom of our apartment to the boys. For someone else who does this, check out the wonderful Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves. It’s been an interesting experience, mostly when having guests over but we’ve only really found it problematic when I need to sleep in the mornings (my husband could sleep through the apocolypse!).

Fred currently sleeps next to us in the Chicco Next to Me Co-Sleeper but as of next month will move in with Arthur and share the bedroom with him. I really really think that shared rooms are so great for kids. I shared with my eldest brother for a while and my brothers shared a room until one of them moved out at eighteen. I like the idea of them having a camaraderie and a space that’s theirs away from adult life.

We try to keep the space as simple as possible, rotate the toys out and available for them and easy to keep tidy and clean. 

Our Tiny Home: Kids Nourish Paris

Kid Spaces

Something that takes up alot of space but I really love is our toddler size table and chairs in the kitchen. This was such a great addition to our home when we were really struggling with Arthur needing to have one of us close by (another advantage of a small space is, let’s face it, that we’re always close by!). With the table in the kitchen I can cook, Fred can be in his chair and Arthur can be playing or drawing at his table and we can be spending time together whilst doing our own things. 

We try to keep the living room/bedroom space toy and kid stuff free. This is firstly because there’s already so much of our life jammed in there and secondly because it’s where we sleep – I like it to be as calm and clutter free as possible. We keep a play mat and baby-gym in there and that’s about it. 

We try and keep things as accessible as possible for Arthur around the home. He can help with dinner & chop vegetables at his table or he has a step to get up to the kitchen counters. His bathroom stuff is in a cupboard at his level and he can use his step to get to the sink. 

Our Tiny Home: Kids Nourish Paris

Small living is constantly forcing us to redefine what we think of as necessary space. What do we need to have a satisfying home life? I don’t think that having children means that you need to immediately move into a bigger space, or that you suddenly need more storage to store all the extra stuff that traditionally comes with having children. As with all things, a little shift in thinking, a movement in the right direction is all it takes. 

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Toddler Life: Audio Books & Quiet Time

Toddler Life: Audio Books & Quiet Time Nourish Paris

It’s finally happened. Nap time is totally off the table. To be totally honest, it’s been off the table for a while now but naps were still happening occasionally and when they did, choirs of Angels sang praises from the skies. I loved nap time. 

However, we’ve transitioned to “Quiet time” and while it’s not always quiet…and not always a lot of time…it seems to be working for us. The basic concept is that Arthur does a quiet activity in his bedroom for one hour. It sounds simple enough but finding a way to keep him chill and happy for quiet time has taken a while to get right. That’s where audiobooks have come in. We get our audiobooks from a variety of sources, but first – why have quiet time at all?

  • For your own sanity. Now seriously, life in a tiny space with a tiny tornado of a two year old can get a bit intense. Throw in a husband who works at night and sometimes needs to sleep during the day, a baby who needs to nap, no second bedroom and a thousand tasks that need to be done & quiet time is literally saving lives. 
  • Allows children time to reset, be with themselves and rest. Important stuff for little bodies and minds that are on the go and learning all day long. 
  • It increases confidence, creativity and independence. This is the time of the day that Arthur is really alone to play. I’m not there for him to bounce ideas off, play with, or even talk to. This is generally the time when he does his most imaginative playing, challenges himself with what he plays with (our dominoes, lotto and matching cards get used a lot in this time) and also what books he looks at. 

Audiobooks

Audiobooks have been a fantastic addition to our quiet times. We use a wireless bluetooth speaker that I control from my iPad or phone. This has been useful because I can control the volume, turning it down or off totally if Arthur, by some incredible chance actually falls asleep. As the stories for his age group are generally shorter than one hour, I can also control what he listens to next. We get our audiobooks from a variety of places:

  • CDs that come with books. Yes it’s still possible to buy books with audio CD’s attached! We don’t have a CD player but I just pop them on the computer and then onto my iPad or phone. We’ve got a few lovely ones like this including Emma Thompson’s Peter Rabbit stories and a really gorgeous version of Peter and the Wolf. 
  • YouTube. Often it’s possible to listen on YouTube. We just play the sound on the wireless speaker while the video plays elsewhere. It’s not our favourite way to listen but it works and we’ve found some lovely classics like Wind in the Willows and lots of Beatrix Potter stories. 
  • Record yourself or a loved one reading. This is currently our favourite way to listen to stories. My Grandma recently found a recording my Grandpa made in the eighties of him reading bedtime stories to my eldest cousin Hannah. Hannah’s managed to put them onto a memory stick for a few of us cousins who have small children and so, often Arthur will be read a story by my grandfather, who died when I was thirteen. It really is incredible and heart rending to hear his voice reading to my son, whom he never met. I wonder when he recorded it, if he could have imagined that Arthur or any of his other five great-grandchildren would be listening to his stories fifteen years after his life had ended. It really is magical to me that Arthur can hear his voice and it has encouraged me to record myself and others reading stories too.

With an audiobook playing in the background, Arthur will happily play in his room for at least an hour at a time. We try to time it for just after lunch, when everyone needs a break before diving into the afternoon’s activities. Do you implement a quiet time in your house? Do you love audiobooks too? Let me know your favourites & where you’re getting them! We’re always looking for more.

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Minimalist Me: Christmas Lists and Toy Control

Minimalist Me: Christmas Lists and Toy Control Nourish Paris

Oh it’s really snuck up on me this year but Christmas is truly just around the corner! I’ve been far more organised than previous years – nesting, pregnancy hormones and Christmas planning are apparently a winning combination when it comes to organisation! We are planning on spending our first Christmas as just us three (but hopefully four!) in Paris. This will be the first time that we haven’t spent it with one of our families but we are excited to make some of our own traditions with our own children!

As always when you have young kids, the question of presents comes up early – how many to give, what type of toy, are we doing Father Christmas presents, are we doing multiple presents from everyone? This will be Arthur’s third Christmas and quite honestly, he wants for nothing. I decided, for the purpose of this blog post to take a look at what he already has and loves in the hope of inspiring you, if you’re reading and struggling to buy for your toddler. At the end is a little list of things we’ve bought for this year that you might want to consider. I’ve split it into a couple of categories for ease: Toys, activities, and games.

Minimalist Me: Christmas Lists and Toy Control Nourish Paris

Toys

  • Wooden animals: these gorgeous, solid animals are always a winner. They’re a brand called Holztiger and I’ve seen them around in a fair few independent toy shops in Paris. They have a few ranges (farm animals, etc.) and they’re just lovely for promoting imaginative play. At this age, any kind of toy animal fascinates Arthur, and he can spend a good hour playing with them.
  • Wooden Cars: we have a set of Janod wooden cars that Arthur is completely obsessed with (seriously – he sleeps with them!) I love them because they’ve proved themselves really really durable, he received them for Christmas 2015 and has played with them practically every day since. Janod is stocked all over France and can be found in most toy stores. 
  • Grimms Rainbow: this classic, beautiful toy from Grimms (pictured below) is one of our more pricy toys, but honestly worth every penny. It has provided hours of imaginative play at our house and gets used as a tunnel, roads, boats, bridges, cradles for baby dolls and everything inbetween. 
  • Brio: self explanatory, if you have a child into trains, I can’t recommend Brio train tracks highly enough. It’s an absolute classic and, happily connects with IKEA train tracks too so you can combine collections. 

Minimalist Me: Christmas Lists and Toy Control Nourish Paris

Minimalist Me: Christmas Lists and Toy Control Nourish Paris

Activities

  • Cleaning: most little kids love copying mummy and daddy and last year Arthur received a beautiful wooden broom and dustpan & brush set from Nature et Decouvertes. (pictured at top of page) It gets used every day. Sometimes we pour out things like coloured feathers or conkers for him to sweep up, sometimes he just helps sweep the kitchen but, either way, he loves it. 
  • Sorting and ordering: from six months and up, lots of babies like to sort and order different objects. We have a set of stacking pots from Grimms that Arthur liked to put objects into, and take them out. Now he uses them for counting objects like pegs, conkers, little balls and people. They’re pictured above and you can find them here.
  • Crafts: Generally having a well stocked craft cupboard has held us in good stead, particularly through the winter months when outdoor time is limited. This really doesn’t have to be anything fancy. We keep things like lolly sticks, yarn, coloured paper, glue, paints, chalks and beeswax crayons, play doh, salt doh ingredients and beeswax for modelling. 
  • Dressing up: This is a new thing that Arthur is into and oh, it’s making my heart swell! I loved dressing up as a child and my mum made amazing costumes for us (she also loves dressing up!) if you wanted to read about some great benefits of dress up play you can do so here. At the moment we have a relatively small dressing up selection; bird, wolf, tiger, mechanic – but are looking forward to growing it over the years. The bird costume pictured above is from Okaidi

Minimalist Me: Christmas Lists and Toy Control Nourish Paris

Games

  • Story cards: I’ve written about these fantastic cards before when discussing our toddler’s morning and evening routine but they’re always worth a mention. There are far more cards in the pack than pictured above and they can be used to make up stories. Arthur particularly loves the one about the tree growing. You can find them at Nature et Decouvertes in their Montessori department. 
  • Lotto: Arthur plays this at his Mamie’s house alot and we’ve got a beautiful set here too. He loves looking at the little pictures and matching them up to the cards. I love that it’s the first game we’ve been able to play together as a family too. Worth a look & you can find our set here.

Christmas

I’ve spoken before about how we try to limit the amount of toys that Arthur is given. We live in a very small space and just don’t have the room. I also believe that it’s not healthy in terms of development for children to be overwhelmed by toys. At Christmas and birthdays therefore, we tend to send a list to grandparents and others of things that we know he will love and play with and ask them to choose one gift each to give. It generally works very well (with the exception of my mum this year who just returned to England yesterday having dropped off SLIGHTLY more than one gift for Arthur…) and we try to work on the four gift principle of: something you WANT, something you NEED, something to WEAR and something to READ. With that in mind, here’s our Christmas list this year.

  • WANT: some wooden beads for threading onto shoe laces
  • NEED: a child size yoga mat so that he stops stealing mine!
  • WEAR: a musketeer dressing up costume
  • READ: the Koala who could (We have the Lion inside and LOVE it)

I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration if you’re feeling stuck. We’re trying to make Christmas more about starting our own traditions this year than gift giving but it is undoubtedly part of making your child’s (and your!) Christmas magical! 

What’s Father Christmas bringing down your chimney this year?

xxx

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Our Tiny Home: Laundry

Our Tiny Home: Laundry Nourish Paris

Our Tiny Home: Laundry Nourish Paris

While there are many many benefits to living in a small space, which one day I promise to list for you all, there are times when it can be a challenge. Lately, I’ve been dreaming of a laundry room. You know – like those beautifully designed, lit, and matching ones every mother on Pinterest seems to have. Neatly lined up products, matching coloured washing machines and tumble driers, cute baskets, a ceramic sink for hand-washing clothes, ample drying space (yes, my dreams are pretty boring…but ever so pretty!)

We’ve tried a few solutions over the years. A baby brings a lot of laundry with them – more if you use cloth nappies (we don’t and this is why!), toddlers are generally quite messy and two adults who both work in the food industry makes for a fair amount of loads a week. Keeping on top of it all is the first problem and the second problem is lack of space. I know people living in the same or less amount of space as us who use laundrettes – avoiding the question totally of where on earth to put a washing machine!

Keeping on top of it

  • One load a day, every day. Ugh – I know.
  • A specific day a week for sheets, towels, bathmats etc. I do all of that in one day and then clothes for the rest of the week. Usually when I hang sheets they take about an afternoon and a night to dry. This free’s up drying space for the rest of the week. 
  • Putting it away straight away when it’s dry. When I have a full basket of clean and dry clothes not yet put away next to the wardrobes, it backs everything else up. 

Lack of space

  • We have a washer/dryer combo. It’s honestly not great – the washing machine is fine but the dryer takes a LONG time to dry anything and it’s pretty noisy. Nonetheless I would definitely recommend getting one if you don’t have space for a dryer. It’s great for towels and emergency situations (of which there are many when kids are involved!) 
  • Get yourself some woollen dryer balls (as above – six for €12 on amazon) they speed up drying time, make your towels fluffy and you can pop some drops of your favourite essential oil on them for scent. They eliminate the need for dryer sheets or fabric softener really and I love them. 
  • Our current drying solutions are two wooden drying racks from Habitat (€29 each). In the summer they fit out on our tiny balconies to get some sun on them and in winter we stick them next to our radiators. They’re durable, sustainable material and honestly – I like the way they look. Which is important because they are up practically ALL the time! 

I know that this isn’t very interesting, but I do also know that when you’re living in a tiny space you’re always looking for solutions. Laundry has to get done! As always, when kept simple and attractive, things start looking brighter and more manageable!

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Toddler Life: Encouraging Quiet Play & a Simple Play Doh Recipe

Toddler Life: Encouraging Quiet Play & a Simple Play Doh Recipe Nourish Paris

As it’s getting darker earlier and earlier over here we have less time to spend outdoors. We’re starting to look inwards, spending more time reading, drawing, crafting and playing and much more time turning the living room furniture into a soft obstacle course to jump on. When cabin fever hits during a long winter in a tiny apartment with small people, the best idea is to wrap up and get outside – whatever the weather. 

Sometimes though, this just isn’t possible. Paris can be truly truly awful during winter, something about long boulevards with icy cold wind rushing down them just isn’t appealing. Encouraging a quiet play time during your daily rhythm, especially straight after school or crèche, can really help little ones unwind all year round, but it becomes especially important in autumn and winter when we’re all shut up inside together. 

Toddler Life: Encouraging Quiet Play & a Simple Play Doh Recipe Nourish Paris

how to encourage independent quiet play

  • Light a candle. As it’s getting dark earlier, we’ve been lighting candles (keeping them well out of the reach of little hands!) and maybe lighting only one other lamp. Keeping soft light in dark seasons helps us all unwind and relax and encourages a quiet atmosphere. 
  • Create a play-list. I use Spotify to find soft, relaxing music for this time of day. We love the Spotify Autumn Acoustic playlist and the Slow Mornings instrumental playlist by mamawatters of the blog Homesong
  • Have baskets of activities prepared in advance. Arthur loves counting conkers at the moment, so we have a pot of conkers ready to go, which he counts in and out of the pots from his play kitchen. Have the play doh to hand with a bag of accessories etc.
  • Have a space near you where they can play. One of our biggest challenges with encouraging independent play was that Arthur just wanted to be with us, not separated in his bedroom. When we got a toddler sized table & chairs for the kitchen, it was like a revelation. He’s totally happy to sit there engrossed in whatever he’s doing while I cook now. 

Toddler Life: Encouraging Quiet Play & a Simple Play Doh Recipe Nourish Paris

play doh

One of the best quiet time activities is Play Doh. Arthur’s at the right age now where he can spend a good hour intensely playing with it. It’s also brilliant because it’s open ended – with some imagination it can really become anything. Arthur makes “food” with it, uses it with his trucks and diggers, makes shapes with it, makes it into “petit poissons” swimming through the sea. It’s nice to see his imagination doing some work and him so engrossed in a game. I like to make our play doh. I find it lasts longer, I can make the colours I want and I can also add essential oils to it, lavender in particular to encourage calm, quiet play. 

recipe

  • 1 cup table salt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 table spoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups warm water
  • food colouring
  • essential oils of choice (make sure they are safe for children)

Mix all of your ingredients together over a medium heat until it’s no longer sticky. Tip it out onto your work surface and knead it with your hands quickly to make sure it’s not sticking to your hands. Divide it up and knead the food colouring and essential oils into each part (this bit is a bit messy). Leave to cool for five minutes and store in an air-tight container. 

It’s so quick and easy to make and from ingredients you can find in your kitchen cupboard, so worth making!

What do you do for indoor toddler activities? Do you have a set time for quiet play in your house? I’d love to hear what you do!

 

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Our Tiny Home: Bathing

Our Tiny Home: Bathing Nourish Paris

Sharing a bathroom with boys has always been normal for me. Growing up I shared with my two brothers, at one point while I was at uni I shared my Halls bathroom with seven 18-21 year old boys (surprisingly much cleaner than when I shared with girls!) and now I share with my husband, toddler and soon, newborn. 

Like all of our spaces, the bathroom has to be multifunctional. Four different people with four very different needs means that space is at a premium and we can’t afford to keep things we don’t use. Unfortunately this mostly affects me as the most likely person to keep un-used, impulse bought cosmetics and beauty products lying around! Luckily, our bathroom is pretty fantastically designed (not by us!) and boasts two cupboards! Our last apartment’s bathroom had precisely zero – not uncommon here. We also have this fantastic changing table drawer that has saved our lives since we’ve lived here and, from what I can see, is fairly easy to construct yourself. 

Our Tiny Home: Bathing Nourish Paris
Changing table drawer

Tiny Bathroom Storage

  • Wire baskets are great for cosmetics storage, everything is visible and they’re easy to keep neat. Each member of the family has their own wire basket for their own products (eliminates people constantly asking me where their things are too!) 
  • We have this metal bucket on the side for items that we use without fail every single day: makeup, hairbrushes, face wash, toothbrushes & paste etc. This eliminates clutter (although never totally!) on the work surface making everything easier to clean and the space feel bigger. 
  • A small dish for the jewellery I wear frequently keeps things organised easy to access in the mornings. 
  • As always – evaluate what you actually need. We keep one spare set of towels for each of us and one spare bathmat, plus one set of guest towels. We don’t need anymore than that. They’re washed and switched frequently and I’ve never had a sudden, burning need for towels. 

The Zero Waste R’s

I find these rules really helpful for de-cluttering and living in a tiny space.

  • REFUSE: Those samples of perfume/cream/nail polish at Sephora? You. Don’t. Need. Them. I know it’s so hard to say no – they’re free! Honestly they will sit in a drawer and clutter it up until you suddenly have no more room in that drawer and you look up and realise that you’re drowning under samples! 
  • RE-USE: Those Aesop bottles in my photos? Not Aesop products inside. I mean they once held Aesop products (They’re an absolute staple on every birthday and Christmas list!) but once those big bottles of shampoo, conditioner and hand soap are empty, I head to our local bulk store and re-fill them with generic natural soaps. I like how this keeps my tiny space looking uniform, they match my decor and it re-uses a bottle that would otherwise be put unceremoniously into a land-fill. I still use actual Aesop skin care products though!

Our Tiny Home: Bathing Nourish Paris

 

 

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Our Tiny Home: Cooking

Our Tiny Home: Cooking Nourish Paris

Our Tiny Home: Cooking Nourish Paris

If there’s one thing you must master if you want to be a successful Paris resident, it’s the art of tiny kitchen cooking. In a city where, when you rent an apartment “a fully equipped kitchen” probably just means that there’s a sink and maybe a cupboard, getting creative with our kitchen spaces is a true Parisian art!

When we moved into our first apartment here, the kitchen was completely empty except for a sink and an ancient dark brown wood cabinet that was practically hanging off of the wall. As people who love to cook this simply would not do! In true modern style we went and purchased every possible kitchen gadget we thought we would need, as well as the absolute necessities of oven, fridge and freezer. In our tiny TINY kitchen we managed to shove: oven, fridge freezer, microwave, dishwasher, coffee machine, toaster, kettle, pots, pans, utensils, a raclette machine and a huge array of other kitchen gadgets. So many gadgets and THINGS in fact, that we never ever used them because we simply didn’t have the space to get them out! 

Now we’ve moved and have a little more space and I have learned my kitchen hoarder lesson. In our old apartment I was overwhelmed by things and I cooked far less and far less elaborate meals because I barely had the space to move. Not because our kitchen was small, but because it was cluttered. Yes, I still have a few kitchen gadgets (and I won’t be giving them up anytime soon!) but we’ve pared down and started using our space much much more creatively. My advice would be that if you can’t tidy it into a cupboard, you should be using it at least three to four times a week – and if you’re not using something three to four times a week, do you really need it? 

Thinking about what you actually use your kitchen for is important here as well. Are you someone who really bakes, or did you just buy the whole range of Mary Berry bakeware after binge-watching four seasons of the Great British Bake Off? Do you actually like smoothies or do you own a Nutribullet because everyone on your Instagram feed seems to always have a green smoothie in hand? This sounds really obvious but we are all guilty of aspirational purchasing, and in a world that is obsessed with cooking and food plus social media…almost nowhere else is this more prevalent than in the kitchen. 

Having said that, there are gadgets that make tiny kitchen life when you have a family much much easier. My slow cooker and the kitchen aid are the two things that spring to mind here (both were gifts that we thought about and asked for long in advance). The slow cooker is wonderful because honestly, batch cooking means less overall time spent in the kitchen, it means healthy food is always on hand with very little work and it only involves one pot – a huge plus for tiny spaces! Another reason the slow cooker is great is because in Parisian kitchens, there often isn’t space for an oven. I’ve been to great dinner parties where everything has been cooked using a table top hob and a slow cooker (including an amazing Thanksgiving with all the trimmings!)

If you have some steps to take to downsize into your Parisian sized kitchen, there’s three main points to consider:

  • Prioritise: what are you cooking? What do you want your kitchen to look like? Work out what you really need – for us this involved getting rid of our microwave and coffee machine for starters. 
  • Declutter: really throw or give away everything you are not using every week. Exceptions include things like raclettes or large roasting dishes that are used when you have company. Get rid of duplicates, nobody needs three sets of salad spoons. 
  • Educate yourself. Learn how to cook great dishes with what you’ve got. There’s no use lusting after an oven if there’s just no space for one in your kitchen. 

My kitchen still looks more cluttered than I’d like, but thankfully now that’s because I’m in there every single day using my stuff instead of being shut out by the overwhelming amount of things and lack of space. I hope some of this has been helpful and I’m sorry that sometimes the only answer when it comes to tiny apartment living is to have less stuff!

 

***Next in the Tiny Kitchen series, batch cooking and meal planning how to***

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Our Tiny Home: Compromise & Priorities

Our Tiny Home: Compromise & Priorities Nourish Paris

Sometimes it feels like living in a tiny space is nothing but sacrifice. It feels like we’ve sacrificed bedrooms, a playroom, a laundry room (but seriously – what a dream!), a dining room, storage space, a bathtub, belongings… the list goes on and on and yes, it’s true, we don’t have any of these things and sometimes that feels like a real struggle. I’m sure it’s going to feel like even more of a struggle when we’re joined by another baby in December as well. 

It’s easy to compare your life and situation to everyone else’s lives and situations. It’s so so easy to become jealous of that person’s big apartment, their fancy holidays, their beautiful homes/gardens/children/wardrobes. This social media world only makes it easier to look at those perfect squares and say “Why her? Why not me?”. It seems like we are programmed for comparison. Earlier this year I was suffering MASSIVELY from the effects of comparing my life with others. My younger brother had just bought a house, all of my friends seemed to have endless cash to spend, other people’s careers were taking off all around me and I started to question…”Why them? Why not me?”

Well the simple answer is that I am not them. I am me. Or rather WE are not them. My family, this little unit we have created is unique. It contains three, soon to be four personalities and we are growing and learning with each other. We have had to decide what our priorities are as a family and have had to accept that what we are doing is not sacrifice but compromise. 

Living in a small apartment means that we can live in the center of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We’ve compromised on space and a garden for our jobs and for the opportunity for our sons to grow up in a vibrant, exciting, diverse place. 

Deciding on what your priorities are as a family also comes in very useful when looking at how to use space in a small apartment. Are you a family who love to cook and eat together? Make space for a big enough dining table. Are you people who value organisation and a clutter free space? Invest in great wardrobes or other forms of storage. 

I love to cook, so a fully equipped kitchen was important to me (a rarity in Paris, most apartments are rented out with just the kitchen sink in place, nothing else!), space for a dining table was also important, enough space to play for my son (Parisian winters are loooooong!) and good storage options. The rest, I felt, I could make do with. I compromised on the smaller stuff to have what I needed the most in place. 

In the end, what I learned from compromising on my tiny living space, I found I could apply to life in general. Our home is not large but it’s comfortable and it fits us. My job does not have an amazing career projectile (read, none!) but it’s creative and friendly and I love it. My son doesn’t and won’t go to a bilingual private school, but he’s healthy and happy and cool and hilarious. In the end, it seems that mediocracy, an end to the constant striving to be more, have more and do more, has been the answer for us. This article has lots of excellent things to say about leading a “mediocre” life, it’s OBVIOUSLY not for everyone – but maybe it could be for you?